"There's the beach!"
"I can only see the ocean."
"The beach is before the ocean."
"I know, but I can't see it yet."
"Well, I'm taking you to the other beach, anyway. That's the tourist beach, in front of us."
"I want to go to the warm water beach."
"It's all warm. Didn't you know? Santa Cruz beaches are warmed by volcanic springs."
"Ha ha. I want to body surf."
"We're walking to the surfer beach."
"Oh goody, so all the surfers can laugh at your old man's farmer tan."
I drove down to Santa Cruz yesterday to help Caitlan get her stuff out of the trailer she lived in over the summer. She amost has a new place to live lined up. Sensing the seam-straining discomfort of moving out before having a place to move to, and congruent with my own need to get into the ocean at all this summer, I suggested a quick walk to the water.
Passing the karoake bar, a woman was monotoning Madonna. "Like a vir-ir-gin" she toned, like a Gregorian Monk. Caitlan and I admired her for trying, but I especially yearned for an ear-washing.
At the water's edge, I shed shoes, shirt, glasses... "Daddy, you're old! Old people take so long to get into the water!" Caitlan's pants were rolled up to the knees. "Eek! It's cold!"
I followed a moment later. The familiar numbness spread trhough my calves, thighs... Ahhh, I thought, it's really rather nice. Almost as warm as a Southern California beach. Dunking my head was a bit of a shock, but I really wanted to do a little body surfing.
I caught a couple of small waves, then swam out beyond the swells. The surfers were all a quarter mile up the beach, where the small surf was slightly larger. The salt water penetrated my nostrils, my eyes... I bobbed in the calm Pacific.
Swimming back to shore I caught one more tiny wave. The air was cold. I know Caity and I talked some more on our way back to the car, but all I recall is trying to dry off and then spraying us both all wet again with the shower. "That's a real effective shower," Caitlan squealed as it misted all over us and the wind blew cold.
Last night I slept with the saltwater dry on my skin.